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Stjepan Čolak
Stjepan Čolak

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How to be safer online?

Following more and more people complaining that they are being hacked I've decided to compile a list of things that you can do to keep your social media accounts, email accounts, and everything else regarding your data safe.

First I would recommend to everyone to learn how encryption works especially asymmetrical encryption. You can find a couple of links here https://bfy.tw/OnTo. Read up, that is the only thing that no one can do for you. Invest some time in it and it will return soon enough.

After grasping the basic concepts of encryption my next advice would be that for your social media accounts you use a different email than your personal one. E.g. If your name is Joe Johnson and your personal email is joejohnson87@gmail.com don't use it for the social media accounts because you will easily pinpoint the attack vector for the hacker with this. Rather create something like daisys398mackarel@gmail.com for your account which has nothing to do with you and it is harder for hackers to get hold of your email.

The second thing you can do is to enable 2FA (two-factor authentication) for everything you can from your email to your FB account. How to do it is easy to find, simply google the next pattern "Enable 2FA" (Example: Enable FB 2FA).

The third thing that you should do is manage your passwords. (Google password managers). There are a lot of them on the market I am recommending that you should use Bitwarden as it is free for personal use and most importantly it is multiplatform. Which means you can have your passwords stored on multiple devices. The advice here would be don't use the same password everywhere, rather have one for your password manager a strong one at that, and of course, the one that you can remember (Google: strong catchy passwords). Use one password to rule them all and rotate that password every two weeks to a month. The rest of the passwords that you use can be random then, but I also recommend that you rotate the passwords that are very important to you. Why password rotation is important you can find here.

The next thing that I cannot emphasize enough is using public wifi safely. Here is a short video on why is it dangerous to use public wifi. And an actual solution to this problem consists of two steps. The first step is to use a VPN whenever you are connecting to public wifi or even the one at your home, and the second step is don't click any links that are on the homepage of the selected wifi. What VPN service to use I don't know because I use my own, but a quick google search recommends a couple of them and ExpressVPN seems to be the top one (please correct me if I'm wrong). This is not a bulletproof solution as you can still fall for this trick but increases your security significantly.

The final thing I want to get your attention to is your personal data and that means your photographs, your videos, your emails, your contacts, etc. That returns us to the encryption part. If you can go ahead and encrypt your data (but remember the password or store your key safely). Also, I would recommend you use cloud storage like MEGA who encrypts your data before uploading them so no one can access it online without the credentials. But if you yourself encrypt your data beforehand you can upload it safely anywhere.

These are some simple steps that can make you safer online but not completely safe. These steps are like bike locks, big strong bike locks can be picked, cut, or broken if you have enough time, but usually their purpose is to deter thieves because the bike next to you have a weaker lock, so please invest in your online and offline security, even though you cannot see the results trust me they are here.

Good luck everyone who stuck with this read until the end.

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